Premier drives economic integration

Trade and Investment

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu has committed the provincial government to open up international markets for small, medium and micro enterprises.

Mchunu is currently on an official visit to Moscow, Russia, to forge socio-economic relations with different regions in that country.

Speaking today at the opening of the KwaZulu-Natal-Russia Business Exhibition, Mchunu said it was an excellent platform to fast-track the integration of KZN emerging entrepreneurs with global production networks across the different sectors of the economy of BRICS member countries.

“It is important to point out that as government, we have made a conscious decision to focus on SMMEs because we believe that it is only through a strong culture of entrepreneurship that we will be able to create 2.1 million jobs between now and 2030.

“This target of 2.1 million jobs is set by National Development Plan and our very own Provincial Growth and Development Strategy. We believe that this target is within our reach because the provincial cabinet is continuously fast-tracking the entry of SMMEs into the mainstream economy,” Mchunu said.

The participation of entrepreneurs in global markets, Mchunu said, comes with a host of benefits such as access to the best international business practices, advanced technology and more importantly, there are endless opportunities for entrepreneurs of becoming partners in foreign direct investment deals.

He added that while the provincial government has made great progress in terms of fostering a culture of entrepreneurship, they are cognisant of the fact that their interventions are not adequate at this stage.

The provincial cabinet recently approved the SMME Strategy, which provides a framework which details what should be done to ensure that SMMEs progressively increase their contribution towards the growth and performance of the KwaZulu-Natal economy.

Mchunu said the strategy directs government to ensure that SMMEs have access to global markets for their products and services.

“We therefore want our SMMEs to be at the centre of export and export activities. Importantly, we have started a campaign to ensure that this sector of our economy drives all foreign direct investment deals across Africa.

“We have seen a significant increase in trade with the rest of the African continent, both on the export (up 20.4%) and import (up 43%) fronts. A substantial turnaround in foreign direct investment (FDI) resulted in an estimated 10.3% growth in net inflows for 2012 as a whole. South Africa thus outperformed the rest of the African continent, for which estimates indicate a 4.8% increase in FDI,” he said. –

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